Goofy debt ceiling demands

@CNNMoney June 14, 2011: 2:18 PM ET
Debt ceiling: Wingnut demands

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Marco Rubio want some rather unrelated demands met before Congress raises the debt ceiling.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A lot of politicians are weighing in with demands before they'll support raising the debt ceiling. Most of their conditions are related to debt, such as put in place a debt reduction plan or cut spending.

But some conditions can't even claim to be third cousins once removed. Punish union defenders. Drill, baby drill. Revolutionize federal regulation.

Of course, it's not as if totally unrelated measures never make it into formal legislation.

Who can forget the 2009 law designed to crack down on credit card fees? That's the law that also lets national park visitors carry concealed weapons -- no doubt to scare off any credit card executives who might be birding nearby.

Ah, but that digresses from the debt ceiling. Then again, so do the following demands:

Stiff the NLRB: The mostly staff-free GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said recently he thinks lawmakers should insist in the debt ceiling talks that funding be cut for the National Labor Relations Board.

Debt ceiling: What you need to know

The move would be a smack against NLRB for filing a complaint against Boeing, charging that it broke the law when it moved production of its Dreamliner jet to a South Carolina factory from its union-represented plant in Washington state.

Boeing (BA, Fortune 500) opened the new factory after failing to win a non-strike promise from the International Association of Machinists union, which most recently struck against Boeing for 58 days in 2008.

Overhaul the regulatory structure: Freshman GOP Sen. Marco Rubio proffered a long list of demands that he wants met before he would support a debt ceiling increase.

Writing in a Wall Street Journal opinion article this spring, Rubio's list included several demands pertaining to the budget: entitlement reform, tax reform, discretionary spending cuts and a balanced budget amendment.

Putting aside for the moment that realistically speaking such a list is too large to be accomplished in a few months, Rubio then added an entirely extraneous demand: overhaul the regulatory structure.

Drill for oil in ANWR: Former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, who may or may not run for president, has said she would never vote to raise the debt ceiling because she -- incorrectly -- believes that doing so is just a sop for big spenders.

But if the cap is going to be raised, she said on "Fox News Sunday," politicians "better get something out of it for 'we the people.' "

Palin suggested that Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska should allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a condition of his vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Begich, who is on record as favoring the opening of ANWR, nevertheless told Politico that Palin is "not really on my radar screen to take advice from." To top of page

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